Annulment laws differ in every state. There is no specific rule that a marriage can be automatically annulled within 30 days of marriage. There are, however, several different ways a marriage can be dissolved without a formal divorce. Most states have specific criteria for when an annulment is available. These criteria either classify the marriage as void or voidable. A void marriage will not be recognized regardless of the intent of the parties. A voidable marriage, however, can be canceled at the option of one of the parties or if the marriage is formally contested in court.
General Grounds for Annulment
The general grounds for annulment are insanity, fraud and bigamy. Either spouse may apply for an annulment by petitioning the court for a decree of nullity. Just because you and your spouse have been married for a short time does not mean that your marriage can be annulled without meeting some of the criteria listed below.
Void marriages are unlawful and therefore are considered invalid without action by either party. Grounds to declare a marriage void include: one of the parties was already married at the time a second marriage ceremony took place; one of the parties was a minor who entered the marriage without a special marriage license; the parties are related; or the parties are not respectively male and female.
Voidable marriages can be canceled at the option of either party by petitioning the court for a decree of nullity. Grounds for voidable marriages include: inability of either party to consummate the marriage; invalid consent; one of the parties had a mental disorder at the time of the marriage; venereal disease; or pregnancy at the time of marriage by someone other than the groom.
Keep in mind that the above-listed criteria for annulment are different in every state. For example, in quite a few states you may legally marry your first cousin. So before beginning the annulment process, you should contact a local attorney to determine what the applicable criteria are for annulment in your state.
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